Who needs ambiguity?
If most of us would admit it, we are on a quest, albeit perhaps a subconscious one, to get everything, everyone we encounter into neat cubby holes in our minds. As much as many of us love to play with ideas, we are still never quite content until we can find the connection between what is new with the known in order to categorize it, and perhaps even ignore it.
The problem is that as we “match” the novel with the known, we will too often give ourselves permission to ignore the bits and pieces, the edges, the things that do not fit into our habitual pigeon holes. We tend to keep just the parts that make sense given what we already understand. Then these ideas become part of the known – but are they in actuality? Our interpretation is only that, our interpretation. It cannot be viewed as the final reality. How many ideas about ideas and even people, and events, are built on this force-fit foundation?
We laugh at the story of the blind man encountering the leg of an elephant and drawing conclusions about the object being touched. His guesses run the gamut between animals and plants. The forces at work that drive us to identify, recognize, and even understand what is before us is not just natural, but necessary. We would not have the confidence to even walk around if we could not be sure of some things. I suggest, however, that there are some very special areas of life that defy pigeon holing, and this is a good thing.
Philosophical ideas are ambiguous by their very nature. So much of what we discuss is beyond the realm of tangibility. For those of us who love God’s word, we will pull principles to help us shape our beliefs, but even lofty principles get down to the particulars. How should we then live? And more to the point, how should we counsel others to live, which is what we are tempted to do? Perhaps the urge to do so comes from a need to justify our notions by watching them play out in other people’s lives.
We make rules about how we walk, talk, eat, sleep, and even love. I know one thing. We would all be much happier, even more fulfilled, if we could just decide to accept the fact that there are things we may never know for sure, so we need to quit acting as if we do. We mislead others and get a bit puffed up in the process.
It’s like pinning a butterfly to our collection. Once it is secured, it is no longer alive and even the colors fade. We can never re-capture the sensory realities we experienced when we saw it in flight and longed to possess it. By the very act of capturing, we altered its essential essence.
Ideas exploring the mysteries of the universe are not meant to be stagnant treasures, but are to maintain flight as they twit in and out of our preconceived notions. Perhaps then we can hope to get just a glimpse of the depth and breadth of our Creator’s plan.